‘My husband and my kids have got me back’


By Dionne Meehan

LETTERKENNY woman Julie Gorman is urging those considering weight loss surgery to get it done locally instead of travelling abroad where treatments are also available.


Miserable and overweight, Julie decided to take action in 2022 for health reasons and concerns surrounding a family history of heart attacks and strokes.

After years of struggling to lose weight, she decided to go for a private consultation with Doctor Bodnar in Letterkenny University Hospital who suggested performing the gastric bypass procedure.

Over 18 stone at the time, Julie said she was afraid to get the procedure done in Letterkenny. She’d ruled out the option of going to Turkey which is a popular destination for such treatments.

“You never would have got me to Turkey,” she said.

“My friend’s niece went to Turkey one week before me and she was lucky she survived.

“They did a lot of damage to her and she is very lucky she didn’t die.

“I was walking down to theatre that morning and honest to God, I was ready to turn and run,” she said.


Julie said she was “miserable” before her operation.

In theatre, Dr Bodnar performed the gastric bypass procedure.

A gastric bypass is a type of weight-loss surgery that involves creating a small pouch from the stomach and connecting the newly created pouch directly to the small intestine.

With food now staying in Julie’s stomach for longer, it means she feels fuller for longer.

“My pouch is about the size of the palm of my hand which is also my portion size,” she explained.

“For 12 weeks after the procedure you have a process to follow.

“For three weeks I could only drink fluids, then for three weeks it was puréed food, then for three weeks it was soft food and then after that, slowly and gradually, you start introducing other foods.

“It was like weaning a new baby,” she said.

With the procedure costing a total of €11,000, Julie said she was very lucky her private health insurance covered it.

“When I think back on it I don’t know how I made the decision to do it as I am so scared of hospitals.

“I still have so many people to this day, strangers, messaging me because they see old photos that have been shared,” she said.

However, despite being told about Julie’s “fantastic” experience at Letterkenny University Hospital, people are still travelling to Turkey to get the procedure done.

“I don’t want to be telling anyone not to go to Turkey but I would rather them try and go here.

“There are just too many bad stories out there at the minute,” Julie said.

Julie Gorman pictured at the Town Park in Letterkenny. Photo: Brian McDaid.

With many looking at the procedure as “the easy way out”, Julie spoke of how difficult her life was before the operation.

“I had tried for about five years to lose weight, going to the gym, doing everything I could and nothing would work.

“I would lose a small bit and then put on twice as much again.

“It definitely wasn’t the easy way out,” she said.

Now one year post operation, Julie has lost a staggering eight stone and five pounds.

“It is unreal, nobody recognises me.

“I was so miserable before I did this.

“Now my husband’s got me back and my kids have got me back.  It has not just given me weight loss, it has given me so much more,” she said. 

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